TEARS AND LAUGHTER

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I have to confess, that in the absence of the lovable, rakish cad Daniel Cleaver, I had strong reservations about this latest film. I needn’t have worried! Although for me Hugh Grant adds an almost ‘Adonis’ like quality to any film he stars in…ahem, the viewer was not left wanting.

Of course we have the extremely talented and much loved Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth, but now the trio is completed by the introduction of the familiar Patrick Dempsey of Grey’s Anatomy fame.

This brilliant film is a roller coaster of tears and side splitting laughter in equal measure, with of course a little unexpected twist at the end!

 

 

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AUTUMN DAZE

Summer seems but a distant memory now doesn’t it? but we shouldn’t feel down hearted because autumn heralds it’s own joys! I can’t help feeling a sprinkling of excitement when I think of going for long crisp walks in cosy sweaters and boots, and then returning home to the  delight of an indulgent hot chocolate.

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I came across a wonderful recipe recently for Italian hot chocolate, which I thought I would share with you. Be warned though! you might not be able to move for the rest of the day.

Italian Hot Chocolate
Prep time
5 mins
Cook time
5 mins
Total time
10 mins
Author: The Petite Cook
Recipe type: Hot Drink
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 500ml / 17.5fl oz fresh milk , whole or skimmed
  • 4 tsp / 20gr cornflour(cornstarch)
  • 4 tsp / 20gr cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp / 20gr sugar
  • 120gr / 4oz 70% dark chocolate, very finely chopped
  • whipped cream, to serve (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour milk in a large pot. Add in sifted cornflour, cocoa and sugar.
  2. Warm the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally to avoid lumps. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat to minimum and fold in chopped chocolate.
  3. Whisk the hot chocolate until creamy and dense, adding more sugar if you like.
  4. Pour into two mugs, top with whipped cream and serve. Enjoy

 

HAPPY DAZE x

WHITER THAN WHITE

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If in some future place or time, I find myself shipwrecked and marooned on a desert island, I would survive quite happily with one proviso – the island has a White Company store.The White Company has to be without doubt my most favourite retailer on the planet.

To digress for a moment, although white is technically not a colour as it does not have visible light of  a specific wavelength, it is one of the most common colours in nature. In many cultures white represents or signifies purity, innocence, and light. White is the colour most often associated with perfection, goodness, honesty,  neutrality, and exactitude. I personally find white energising and it leaves me with a sense of positiveness and tranquility.

I can honestly say I never go into a White Company store without falling in love with at least half a dozen items, be it clothing, fragrance or the amazing homewares.

I thought it might be quite fun to put together a wishlist of some of my favourite things from there:-

lime

This beautiful Lime and Bay collection of home fragrance is a perfect summer scent, marrying exotic mandarin, pink grapefruit, bergamot, lime blossom, and crushed bay leaves.

 

 SPA RELAX COLLECTION

The Spa Relax Collection has notes of calming lavender, cooling clary sage and soothing peppermint which help you to unwind from the stresses of the day.

porto stoneware

PORTO STONEWARE

This beautiful artisan tableware is clean and crisp. It is incredibly well made and makes every table setting from an informal lunch to a candle lit dinner party look very chic.

OUTDOOR LIVING

Now that summer has arrived and the evenings are warmer and longer, what better time to head outdoors? Whatever the occasion, The White Company has everything you need to create the perfect atmosphere.

Let me know some of your White Company favourites. x

The White Company

GOING GREEK

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You know sometimes when you just want to escape for a while to a beautiful sun drenched island in the middle of nowhere? well this weekend was one of those times! I decided to create a little Greek idyll right here. My task was greatly helped by the most amazing weather. Much easier to create the atmosphere without Hurricane Fred blowing a gale!

My destination of choice was of course Greece, and in particular the beautiful unspoilt island of Skopelos. Sounds familiar? well it should, it was where the amazing Meryl Streep joined the handsome Pierce Brosnan to film the timeless ‘Mamma Mia’

There was much preparation  to be done, and we started planning the meal. We had kebabs to begin, followed by an amazing dish of Greek lamb with orzo. This took a few hours to prepare and cook, but it was well worth the wait.

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Ingredients

  • 1kg shoulder of lamb
  • 2 onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped oregano
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 400g can chopped tomato
  • 1.2l hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • 400gorzo
  • freshly grated parmesan

    Method

    1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cut the lamb into 4cm chunks, then spread over the base of a large, wide casserole dish. Add the onions, oregano, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon and olive oil, then stir well. Bake, uncovered, for 45 mins, stirring halfway.
    2. Pour over the chopped tomatoes and stock, cover tightly, then return to the oven for 1½ hrs, until the lamb is very tender.
    3. Remove the cinnamon sticks, then stir in the orzo. Cover again, then cook for a further 20 mins, stirring halfway through. The orzo should be cooked and the sauce thickened. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve with crusty bread.

    The wonderful thing about this meal is that it is all bascally cooked in one pot, so there is very little washing up.

The only way to finish off the perfect Greek evening on my island, was plenty of singing and dancing courtesy of … ‘Mamma Mia’

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I have watched this film soo many times (each time being reduced to tears at the wedding scene) but I never get tired of it – it has such a ‘feel good’ factor.

After a long, hot day it’s time to fall asleep a happy bunny. The only down side to my idyllic paradise, is that it’s now three days later and those intoxicating tunes are still flooding my head. Oh well small price to pay! x

SILKY HAIRDAYS

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I wanted to tell you all about a range of products which I’m absolutely loving at the moment – John Frieda Frizz Ease.

JOHN FRIEDA

In particular the Miraculous Recovery range. My hair (as well as my skin) is prone to be naturally dry and using heated tools for straightening and drying can cause serious split ends.

I’ve been using this range now for about two months, and I have to admit I have seen great results . I start with the Miraculous Recovery Repairing shampoo , followed by the Miraculous Recovery Repairing conditioner. I think that when used regularly, both products help to repair the look and feel of dry, damaged hair at the core and helps seal split ends. Finally I finish off with the Miracle Recovery Creme Serum, which has a useful pump dispenser and I rub three or four drops through my towel dried hair, paying particular attention to the ends. This product doesn’t have to be rinsed out, and contains a handy thermal protecting agent which is great if you are styling your hair with any heated tools. Once my hair is dry and styled, I then finish it off with the tiniest amount of the creme serum just to tame any flyaway ends.

There are several more products in this range which I would like to try, particularly  the Shine Glossing Mist. I love the fact that the formula of these products have visibly  transformed my dry, split hair making it more silky smooth and healthier looking.

WHAT I EAT IN A DAY

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First of all I think I need to explain that this title is a little misleading. The following delicious dishes are not my typical go to meals. Most days I try to eat very healthily, avoiding bread and watching my fat and sugar comsumption. There are times however when you have to balance this with a little indulgence. Yin and yang!

BREAKFAST

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A selection of croissants and danish pastries with strawberry jam, fresh ground coffee and fresh tropical juice.

LUNCH

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Baby leaf salad, fresh chicken, tomatoes on the vine, cucumber all finished with a drizzle of Mary Berry salad dressing and a few shavings of Parmesan.

DINNER

Gourmet burger with bacon, melted cheese and gherkin in a brioche bun with handcut seasoned chips and garlic mushrooms.

This delicious meal was finished with homemade chewy hazelnut meringue with whipped cream and fresh raspberries, and of course a glass of peppery Merlot!

Good food, both preparing and eating it is so important to me, and whilst the meals above seem very indulgent, they are all prepared using fresh,  quality ingredients. x